Fringe Episode 3.4
“Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?”
Written By: Josh Singer, David Wilcox, and Matthew Pitts
Directed By: Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate: 14 October 2010
In This Episode...
Senator James Van Horn is involved in a heinous car accident. At the hospital, doctors are confused because he has no pulse, yet still seems to be breathing. That is because the senator is a shapeshifter. Newton storms the hospital, shooting everyone in his path, trying to recover the body - and with it, the data stored within. Broyles thwarts his plan, causing Newton to shoot the senator in the head and jump down a stairwell.
Walter has made himself at home at Massive Dynamic. Peter is worried; Nina thinks it is good for him. In fact, Walter decides to have the senator’s body sent to his Massive Dynamic lab, where he starts digging around. When talk of his wife comes up, the senator’s fingers twitch. As Walter says, “This tin can is still kicking.” Broyles brings in Patricia Van Horn, hoping to spark an emotional reaction so that Walter can locate the shifter’s “brain center,” which would be where all the shifter’s data is stored. This makes Fauxlivia very nervous. She is even more nervous when, while going through the senator’s office, Peter comes across files on the Fringe team and concerns are raised that there are more shifter moles in the government, and Broyles orders testing.
Walter’s test yields nothing but some blips at the base of Van Horn’s spine. Liv receives a text from Newton, telling her to clear out. He has sent a shifter named Ray to “clean up” the body. She talks everyone down to the cafeteria. While picking out food, Walter has a brainstorm and realizes why the blips were coming from the senator’s spine. He rushes back upstairs and starts cutting open the senator’s back. Ray comes in, brandishing a gun. Walter steps away, terrified, and Ray digs the disc out of Van Horn’s back. He backhands Walter and leaves.
Peter, worried that Walter seems to have disappeared, heads upstairs to find him. He and Liv board the elevator as Ray is getting off. Peter recognizes the silver blood smear Ray left on the elevator, and Liv rushes out to track him down. Arriving upstairs, Peter discovers Walter, injured and disoriented, but otherwise okay. Liv returns and claims she could not find the shifter.
Ray returns home, where Newton is waiting for him, and hands over the data disc he retrieved from the body. Newton is not happy that Ray didn’t take a new shape, as instructed, but Ray had grown too fond of his family, and didn’t want to leave them. Newton instead shoots Ray in the head. While stuffing him into his trunk, Liv and Peter pull up. A car chase ensues and ends with Newton flipping his sedan in a tunnel. While Peter calls for backup, Liv goes to “check” on Newton. She finds the disc on Newton and slips it into her pocket, while telling Peter that she couldn’t find it.
Fauxlivia visits Newton in his cell, assuring that the disc is safe. She slips him a small, thin, cellulose strip - like one of those breath mint strips. The shifter version of a cyanide pill. He can tell that Liv is having a hard time fulfilling her mission, that she is not fully committed, that her emotions are betraying her. He thinks that deep down, Peter knows she isn’t his Olivia. In fact, earlier in the episode, Peter comments that ever since she came back, she has seemed “different” - but in a good way. Fauxlivia combats Newton’s words by texting Peter for a booty call - it is their first time together.
Dig It or Bury It?
It is a little frustrating, waiting for all the pieces to fall into place for Peter. You can tell he knows something is different. You know it all has to come to a head. It’s just the waiting that is torturous. It’s like when a film starts at the end. You know that the main character dies, but you spend most of the movie anxiously awaiting the inevitable. I am so ready for shit to hit the fan. Other than that, it was a very good episode. Plenty of quirky Walterisms, a good car chase, and lots of silver blood. I’m telling you, I really prefer the episodes in our universe.
In the cafeteria after the failed experiment with Mrs. Van Horn, Astrid is trying to cheer Walter up by pointing out a box of animal crackers. “You love animal crackers!” Walter dismisses her by saying that Bell loved animal crackers - he ate them on occasion to honor his friend. This devolves into a diatribe about how it should have been dinosaur crackers. This sparks an idea in his head, and he rushes back to his lab - but not without warning Astrid not to eat his pudding. Later, when Peter realizes Walter is missing, he insists that something is wrong because Walter left without eating his pudding.
The whole shapeshifting, part organic, part mechanic creature doesn’t really work for me as a real possibility, but it sure as hell makes for good TV. I don’t know why, but I love the liquid silver blood. I do love shiny things.
Fringe is on hiatus until November, but the TV man promises that when the show returns, Olivia comes home.